Welcome to NERRds on the Water! This blog is about the estuary. That special place where river meets ocean, where tide meets stream, where Harry met Sally…okay, maybe not that last one. Estuaries are bodies of water where rivers meet the sea. It is within these brackish waters (a mix of fresh water draining from land and salty seawater) where we find many unique communities of plants and animals. Being able to live in an environment that changes on any given moment is not easy!
These areas are also some of the most productive in the world! They serve as breeding grounds, feeding grounds, and shelters from storms. Unfortunately, these estuarine ecosystems are delicate and prone to several anthropogenic and climate-related influences.
The United States Congress created the National Estuarine Research Reserve System as a way to protect and study near 1.3 million acres of estuarine land and water within the United States and its territories. At present there are 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRs) around the country. These reserves are a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and coastal states.
These reserves focus on stewardship, research, training, and education to keep the estuary healthy, gather data to aid in its conservation and management, as well as to train and educate the public on ways in which they can contribute to these areas.
We all work within the estuarine research field, specifically, at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. We have our fair share of stories, techniques we’ve found that work, and silly things that make us laugh throughout the day. We hope you enjoy our stories and can learn something or chuckle from our experiences!